Tuesday, January 26, 2016

building Tim Manney's Shave Horse design

It has been a while since I posted anything from my shop activities. I've wanted to build another shave horse for quite some time and have been looking around for just the right plans / idea. Part of what I was after was a dumb head style as I have and use the Brian Boggs style “mule". 

Brian Boggs style mule

When doing long chair parts it is a little annoying to have to thread the part through the head to turn it around or go end to end. Surly not the end of the world or a great hold up as there is only one bow or one arm per chair. Just wanted to try a different style. The other reason is that I can now make multiple heads and try out Peter Galbert's ratchet head. I also want to design and make a spoon carving / plier type head all using the same base platform. I love carving spoons on the shave horse. The draw knife is an amazing tool. Faster than a hatchet with more control and accuracy. My other goal was to make a very simple horse from readily available construction type materials. 2x4's 2x8's I chose to follow Tim Manney's plan and I veered off in only a few places. 

full side view

It is awfully hard to go buy wood when I have piles of wood air dried in the barn. I live next door to an Amish saw mill and the EAB (emerald ash borer) has reached my little patch of woods. I will likely be taking down at least 20 ash trees many around 20” dia at breast height.

treadle from underneath

I am not sure what it is, but I just can't seem to keep it simple. Posted in my shop I have a little shaker quote that reads

Don't make something unless it is both necessary and useful;
but if it is both necessary and useful,
don't hesitate to make it beautiful.
-Shaker Dictum-

With that I dressed it up in a few places. First I used ash from my woods instead of southern yellow pine. 

right side


Then I added a few curves to lighten things up in terms of the angular lines. 

Rear view

And I had to take Tim's advise and carve a quick seat. He is right- it is very comfortable. Anyone recognize the “perch” pattern?


One of the things that drew me to Tim's plan was he had done such a nice job of laying out his process and plans seemed clear. I made some quick drawings and dimensions with a list of the parts and off to the shop I went …..you can't believe how many times I came back to his blog and studied his posts to get some little detail that I had missed. He has done an incredible job of laying out the process and giving all the needed dimensions, but there is just more than meets the eye at first blush. 

Rear leg attachment

Tim suggested that you use hard wood for the tapered draw pins......well I have been hording this rose wood for years and I have ten of these 2x2's 60” long, do you think I could spare 6” for this project. It was about time. Not often that I use Rosewood and what a pleasure to plane and scrape. I chose to use a single 1/2 inch bolt to secure the rear legs.

Users view

I used some leather for the champs (faces of the vise) and was so pleased that I added some to the Boggs mule I built a few years ago. Nice up-grade. Now with two horses I can have one at my shop in town and one at home and never want for the other.

Head and view of pin

As for a finial assessment, The pin type adjustment will take some getting used to but works quite well. Some sort of stop for the pin would be nice, just can't figure out a simple answer. Tim mentions that he is short so one should make sure the height of the platform and the height of the horse off the ground are right for your own size body. I found his dimensions very close to what I like and comfortable. My trestle is 18 “ above the floor and my platform at its front edge is 10 1/2“above the trestle. The Boggs mule is only 57 " long and Tim's is 64". Both are perfect Tim's just takes up a little bigger foot print.

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